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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
S. A. E. N.
"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

The Defender
From the Spring 2007 Issue

by Justin Goodman, President, UCONN Animal Rights Collective

In November, 2005, after learning from Michael Budkie of Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) that the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC) was imprisoning four rhesus macaques, the UCONN Animal Rights Collective launched a campaign during National Primate Liberation Week to end research on these intelligent animals. From the hundreds of UCHC internal documents obtained via state open records laws, the details of the 15-year NIH-funded primate experimentation of Dr. David Waitzman were discovered. This protocol entails drilling holes into the heads of otherwise healthy monkeys, implanting steel springs in their eyes, intentionally inflicting brain damage, and then measuring its effects on eye movements. The monkeys are killed at the end of the study.

One of the macaques, Cornelius, after undergoing the initial surgical procedure, experienced tremors and seizures regularly for over eight months before finally succumbing to a grand mal seizure and cardiac arrest while being experimented on in November of 2005. A university histology report confirmed that the cause of these side effects was a stroke that the researchers had caused during an initial invasive procedure.
Waitzman's lab was cited by the USDA in November, 2005, for not effectively seeking out alternatives to potentially painful or distressful procedures and for not attending to a case of persistent hair loss in one of the monkeys.

According to new documents released by the USDA through the Freedom of Information Act, an inspection of UCONN on March 7-8, 2006, conducted at the behest of our organization resulted in five additional citations for non-compliance that contributed to the tragic death of Cornelius.

Among the improprieties identified in the inspection report is the employment of personnel who are not qualified and trained to handle nonhuman primates (NHP), a failure to provide appropriate sedatives to animal research subjects, a failure to painlessly euthanize an animal who would otherwise experience severe or chronic pain, and a failure to provide a complete description of the proposed use of the animals in the study to the oversight committee.

Despite the university’s own internal findings in November, 2005, and the USDA citations in November, 2005 & March, 2006, the university has continuously defended Waitzman’s research. Dr. Peter Deckers’ (Vice President of Health Affairs at UCHC) in a January statement professed that he and his staff conducted "a thorough review" of the research and found it to be compliant with all internal and external policies and protocols related to the use of animals in experimentation. A similar statement was made again by UCONN President Philip Austin in his May, 2006, letter to the university community.

Upon the release of the new documents, our claims about Waitzman's sloppy research practices have now been substantiated by the USDA. Not only is he engaged in a morally and scientifically bankrupt enterprise, but David Waitzman and the UCONN administration are apparently unable to abide by even the most rudimentary of animal protection guidelines.

In December of 2006 we learned that the USDA had visited UCONN three more times since March, citing Waitzman for violations each time. These citations led to the USDA barring Waitzman from publishing any of the data he collected since March, as well as the submission of letters of reprimand to Waitzman from the USDA, US Health & Human Services, NIH, OLAW, and National Eye Institute. As a result of so much pressure from the USDA, and the public pressure placed on UCONN, Waitzman decided to 'voluntarily' terminate both of his experiments-- the only two experiments involving NHPs at UCONN. The school has no plans of pursuing any new NHP work.

Two of the primates remaining from Waitzman’s experiments were euthanized. The lone surviving monkey, Mowgli, was transferred to the University of Mississippi Health Center.

We are currently working to obtain Mowgli’s freedom. Please call and email the University of Mississippi officials listed below to demand the release of Mowgli to an appropriate sanctuary.

Dr. John Hall
Associate Vice Chancellor for Research,
University of Mississippi Med Center [email protected]
(601) 815-5000

Dr. Susan Warren
Chair, Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee, University of Mississippi Med Center [email protected]
(601) 984-1671

Go on to SAEN Files USDA Complaint in Wake of ALF Raid
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Spring 2007 Issue
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